Golf in Jamaica: Our Insider's Guide
Melanie Reffes

What is the best way to golf in Jamaica?

While it is perennially popular for a winter getaway or a summer fling, did you know that to golf in Jamaica there are 10 golf courses from Montego Bay and Ocho Rios to Kingston to choose from.

Whether you’re looking to work on your swing or tee it up for a full 18, bring your A-game to one of the Caribbean’s premier golfing destinations   www.visitjamaica.com/ 

Here are the reasons you must consider golfing in Jamaica sooner rather than later.

Cinnamon Hill is stunning and won’t disappoint as it is always ranked among the best courses in the Caribbean.

On a former sugar plantation in Montego Bay, 18-hole Cinnamon Hill was designed by Hank Smedley in 1969 and redesigned by Robert von Hagge and Rick Baril in 2001.  

Offering 6,828 yards in a seaside setting, the waterfall on the 15th hole is so striking it made an appearance in the James Bond spy thriller “Live and Let Die”. 

Country music legend Johnny Cash lived with his wife for 30 years in the Cinnamon Hill Great House next to the 14th hole.  

Cinnamon Hill Golf courseCinnamon Hill was designed by Hank Smedley in 1969, before being redesigned by Robert von Hagge and Rick Baril in 2001 Credit: JTB

Proud at 350 feet above sea level, the 17th hole is where the cool ocean spray is the natural refresher and for history buffs; the 2nd hole facing the Rose Hall Great House was the home of Annie Palmer better known as the "White Witch of Rose Hall”.

Upping the game, the course offers some of the best- caddies on the island.

They really know the lay of the land, helping you with club selection and reading the greens.

Plenty of hotels and resorts are within putting distance of the course with many offerings stay and play packages for golfers and those who travel with them. 

Recommended all-inclusive close to Cinnamon Hill and White Witch include the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa, Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, Hyatt Zilara and Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa. https://rosehall.com/cinnamon-hill

Hilton Rose Hall in JamaicaHilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa is close to the big courses in Montego Bay Credit: Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa

Three kilometres from Cinnamon Hill, White Witch Golf Club graces the rolling countryside of the historic Rose Hall Estate that includes the most-visited Rose Hall Great House.

Designed by Robert Von Hagge and Rick Baril, this is a 18-hole championship course. 

White Witch Golf Course in JamaicaWhite Witch is one of the most popular courses in Jamaica and adjacent to Cinnamon Hill, another popular course Credit: JTB

As a 6,800-yard par 71 layout, it's named for the former sugar estate's wicked mistress, Annie Palmer who according to local legend still haunts the grounds; a tale that has fascinated islanders and golfers for generations.

With views of the Caribbean Sea from 16 holes, the course invites with 5 tee boxes on every hole and the Clubhouse not only the perfect perch for a frosty Red Stripe but also popular for a golf-inspired marriage proposal. https://rosehall.com/white-witch  Vacation perfection on a sunny afternoon, ‘A Round of Golf at the White Witch’ is a 5-hour Island Routes tour priced at USD $205.00, per person.  www.islandroutes.com

Experience beautiful ocean views at Half Moon

Half Moon Golf CourseHalf Moon is an 18-hole par-72 championship course Credit: Half Moon

Four minutes (yes, really 4 minutes) from White Witch and Cinnamon Hill, Half Moon Golf Club is a stellar course designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. 

Hailed as a masterpiece of game-raising challenges, the 18-hole par-72 is home to PGA tournaments like the European PGA Senior Tour and the Jamaica Open and is renowned as one of the best walking courses on the island.  

At the upscale Half Moon Resort, ‘Golf Your Way ‘is the real deal with unlimited play for diehards staying a minimum of 3 nights at the upscale resort in Montego Bay.  

Half Moon ResortAt the upscale Half Moon Resort, ‘Golf Your Way ‘is the real deal with unlimited play for diehards staying a minimum of 3 nights Credit: Half Moon Resort

Inclusions run the gamut from a 15% discount on best available resort rates, unlimited rounds at Half Moon and added options to play at White Witch and Cinnamon Hill.

Go the distance and combine the golf package with ‘Spa Your Way ‘for play on the greens and scrubs and rubs in the chichi spa.

Sweetening the pot, Half Moon Golf Academy is led by the director of golf, Spencer Edwards who is revered as one of Jamaica’s most sought-after coaches. 

Lessons for newbies and the more experienced are offered, Caddies are available from 6:30 am to 7 pm, (Don't forget to tip) and the Pro Shop opens early. The 19th Hole Bar is snacking and sipping perfection.  www.halfmoon.com

Golfing in Ocho Rios

Guests staying at any of the 6 Sandals Resorts are welcome to unlimited play at the Sandals Golf & Country Club.  

Sandals Golf ResortGuests staying at any of the 6 Sandals Resorts on the island are welcome to unlimited play at the Sandals Golf & Country Club Credit: Sandals Resorts

Opened in 1992, 18-hole par 71 course plays to 6,404 yards and rises 700 feet above sea level in the green hills of Ocho Rios. 

Ninety minutes from the Sangster International Airport, the course invites with narrow grassy fairways, Pro Shop, driving range, Sweet Spot Jerk Shack at Hole 10 and a Clubhouse. 

Complimentary green fees are offered to Sandals Resorts guests with gratis transfers from Sandals Ochi Beach Resort and Sandals Royal Plantation about 15 minutes from the course.

A PGA-Certified Golf Clinic is held Tuesdays and Wednesdays and PGA Golf lessons can be reserved. www.sandals.com

Historic legendary Manchester

In Mandeville, Jamaica’s oldest course sits pretty 2,000 feet above sea level at the Manchester Country Club.

Manchester country club in JamaicaManchester, Jamaica’s oldest course sits pretty 2,000 feet above sea level at the Manchester Country Club Credit: USA TODAY 10Best

Built more than a century ago, the Club is the oldest in the western hemisphere with the Manchester Golf Club added after the invention of golf by the Scottish. 

Compact on 55 acres, the course has 9 greens and 18 tee boxes and a length of 2865 yards.

For non-residents of the island, weekend golfing is priced at USD $26.50 for 9 holes or $46.00 for 18-hole play. 

Aptly named and the closest to the course, Golf View Hotel is ideal for those hitting the links and irie, mon with tables pour deux for dinner.  www.thegolfviewhotel.com

If you are going to golf in Jamaica don’t miss Tryall Golf Club.   

Tryall Golf ClubTryall Golf Club at The Tryall Club is a celebrated 18-hole, a 6836-yard course designed by Ralph Plummer Credit: Tryall Club

Rolling out the welcome mat for beginners, serious amateurs and experienced players, Tryall Golf Club at The Tryall Club is a celebrated 18-hole, 6836-yard course designed by Ralph Plummer and played by pros Sir Nick Faldo and Ernie Els (aka. The Big Easy).  

A scenic combo platter of hills and beachfront, holes 4, 7, 11 are signatures with spectacular elevations offering to-die-for views.

Catnip for fans of local history,  Hole #7 marks the aqueduct that supplied the former sugar plantation’s waterwheel with shots played right through the stone pillars.

Classes are popular at The Golf Academy where instructors offer tips to players of all levels. 

Beach at Tryall Club in JamaicaThe Tryall Club is the beauty on the beach Credit: Tryall Club

Enthusiastic and experienced caddies are on hand including some who have been there since the course opened in 1959.  

Rates for guests during high season start at USD$75.00 for 9 holes, $105.00 for 18 holes.  

Non-guests of the resort can also play with rates starting at $115.00 for 9 holes and $150.00 for 18-hole play. For players staying in the Villas for a week, green fee membership starts at $425.00 www.tryallclub.com/

Golfers looking for a little of this and a little of that as long as golf is in the mix won’t be disappointed with the’ One Love’ package offered by the upscale Round Hill Hotel & Villas.

Inclusions with a minimum 3-night stay include daily shuttles to the Tryall Golf Club, couples’ massage, shopping trips, and afternoon tea and airport transfers. 

Round Hill Hotel & VillasRound Hill Hotel & Villas is the pedigree of posh west of Montego Bay Credit: Round Hill Hotel and Villas

The holy grail of extravagance, the ritzy resort built in 1953 has long hosted discerning guests like John F. Kennedy, who penned his famous "ask not what you can do for your country" inauguration address in Villa 25.

Spy novel writer Ian Fleming preferred Villa 3, and superstars Beyoncé and Sir Paul McCartney have also stayed at this posh retreat. 

The Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Jamaica has amazing viewsRound Hill Hotel & Villas is the pedigree of posh west of Montego Bay Credit: Round Hill Hotel and Villas

Designed by Ralph Lauren, who owns two of the 27 villas, Villa 20 is designed for maximum privacy at the edge of the forest.  

The 6-bedroom, 8-bathroom and 2- pool villa easily sleeps 14 of your closest golf buddies. Nightly rates start at $11,039 through April 22 and $5,679 from April 23- October 31. www.roundhill.com/ 

Whether you are new to the game or looking for a new golfing adventure challenge, you will not be disappointed with any of the options to golf in Jamaica. 

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